Rio Tinto has reached a new electricity supply agreement with Meridian Energy, extending the life of its Tiwai Point aluminum smelter to December 2024.
The smelter, operated by New Zealand Aluminum Smelter (NZAS), has the capacity to produce more than 350,000mt of aluminum per year. It was slated for closure in August 2021 due to a lack of reasonably priced power supply.
With the new power arrangement announced by Rio Tinto on Wednesday, the smelter’s operations are now viable for the next four years. It will also give the company time to complete detailed closure studies for the NZAS unit and support the community in Southland, New Zealand with the process.
Rio Tinto holds a 79.36pc stake in the NZAS joint venture, while the remaining stake is owned by Sumitomo Chemical.